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An Oregon Trail Christmas

The eight Oregon-based musicians who make up The Trail Band will bring their popular holiday concert, "Christmas with The Trail Band" to the Craterian in what has become a Southern Oregon tradition. There will be two performances: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central, Medford.

Formed by Marv and Rindy Ross in 1991 at the request of the Oregon Trail Council to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the trail, the band initially performed music exclusively from and about the era of the Oregon Trail with costumes, diary readings, traditional folk tunes, marches, hoedowns and American Indian melodies.

Today, the ensemble performs a blend of brass and string arrangements of traditional and original music. Marv and Rindy Ross (Marv: guitar; Rindy: reeds/woodwinds) were the founders of Quarterflash, whose award-winning debut album on Geffen Records went platinum in 1982. The couple received the Alumni Award of Excellence from Western Oregon University for their contributions to Oregon arts.

Lex Browning (guitar, violin, and mandolin) has performed live and on record with artists such as Kenny Rogers, Tanya Tucker and Pam Tillis. He is also a member of The Austin Lounge Lizards.

Mick Doherty (hammer dulcimer, string bass, electric bass) performs with the Cascadia Folk Quartet and works as musician and storyteller with shadow puppeteer Deb Chase and the Oregon Shadow Theatre.

Phil and Gayle Neuman (Phil: tuba, pennywhistle, recorders, flageolet, cornet, fluegelhorn/Gayle: violin, tenor horn, trombone, banjo, recorders) are recording artists, award-winning musicologists and instrument makers. They also play with The Pioneer Brass, The Oregon Renaissance Band, and present a concert of ancient Greek music as a duet.

Musical director Cal Scott (cornet, mandolin, guitar, keyboards) composed the scores for more than 30 PBS documentaries and specials. He plays on the latest CD of Celtic super group, Patrick Street (Street Life) and is currently recording with Irish fiddler Kevin Burke.

Dan Stueber (drums, percussion) attended Boston's Berklee College of Music, where he specialized in jazz and classical percussion. He performed extensively with The Flying Karamazov Brothers on Broadway and plays with the traditional jazz band The Woolies.

The Trail Band created "Christmas with The Trail Band" in 1994. Originally produced as a television special for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

In 1999 producer Ross was presented an Alumni Award of Excellence from Western Oregon University for The Trail Band's contributions to history, education and music.

Tickets for the Craterian shows range from $16 to $29.

Call 779-3000.

The Trail Band returns to the Rogue Valley for its annual holiday show. (www.thetrailband.com) - Photo by Owen Carey